Revealed: Star-studded shortlist designs for Adelaide art museum

These proposals are all highly sophisticated. Some are more dramatic, some more subtle but all announce a destination and tantalise with the promise of an experience that is out of the ordinary
– Malcolm Reading, competition director

The shortlisted designs for a new art museum in Adelaide have been officially released, offering a first glimpse at what the likes of Adjaye Associates, BIG, Diller Scofidio + Renfro have in mind for the planned South Australian Landmark.

Intended to revitalise the site of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital (oRAH), Adelaide Contemporary will be a sister museum to the Art Gallery of South Australia, combining exhibition, research and education spaces with a public sculpture park and community meeting place.

“We want to create on the oRAH site one of the most significant new arts and cultural destinations of 21st century Australia,” said South Australia Premier Steven Marshall.

“This truly unique and groundbreaking precinct is destined to become a beacon of artistic, cultural and architectural excellence internationally as a culmination of the long-held plans of the South Australian Museum and the Art Gallery of South Australia to better showcase their collections.

“The precinct is envisaged as an important economic driver for tourism and business investment creating new jobs and inspiring spin-off business initiatives.”

The competition brief required proposals that "integrate art, education, nature and people" and create an architectural landmark on the city’s North Terrace Boulevard, adjacent to the historic Botanic Garden.

The following six teams were shortlisted:

• Adjaye Associates (London, UK) and BVN (Sydney, Australia)

• Bjarke Ingels Group (Copenhagen, Denmark) and JPE Design Studio (Adelaide, Australia)

• David Chipperfield Architects (London, UK) and SJB Architects (Sydney, Australia)

• Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York, USA) and Woods Bagot (Adelaide, Australia)

• HASSELL (Melbourne, Australia) and SO-IL (New York, USA)

• Khai Liew (Adelaide, Australia), Office of Ryue Nishizawa (Tokyo, Japan) and Durbach Block Jaggers (Sydney, Australia)

The concept designs are now available to view on the international competition website and in a free-to-enter public exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Competition director Malcolm Reading said: “These proposals are all highly sophisticated. Some are more dramatic, some more subtle but all announce a destination and tantalise with the promise of an experience that is out of the ordinary.

“The winning design will be developed in close partnership with Arts South Australia and other stakeholders.”

The six finalist teams were selected in December 2017, by a panel chaired by Michael Lynch, from 107 teams made up of circa 525 individual firms applying from five continents.

Adelaide is located on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people, and the government plans to integrate the National Aboriginal Art and Cultures Gallery into the oRAH site/

“Our plan will provide a national focal point for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and cultures as well as new spaces for major exhibitions, and the opportunity to unlock the hidden treasures of South Australia’s cultural institutions,” said Marshall.

In their own words: The shortlisted designs, explained by their creators

Adjaye Associates and BVN

“The building is conceived as a mythical primal house, set on the land of the Kaurna people. It negotiates the relationship between Aboriginal Country, urban grid and the future-facing city into a synthesised moment of cultural enlightenment.”

Designed in collaboration with McGregor Coxall, Steensen Varming, Plan A Consultants, Barbara Flynn, Yvonne Koolmatrie, Aurecon Group and Front Inc.

Bjarke Ingels Group and JPE Design Studio

“Appearing as an extension of the city to the west and pavilions in a garden to the east, the Contemporary will enlarge both public realm and the Botanic Garden, experienced in the ebbs and flows of hard- and soft-scape on its rooftops.

“To the north, it gently steps down in transition to the gardens and the Palm House. On North Terrace it will establish a respectful yet iconic presence with a public plaza and expanded entrance to the Botanic Garden.

“The Adelaide Contemporary will be a new breed of architecture as social infrastructure and culture bearer across boundaries.”

Designed in collaboration with United Natures, Arketype, BuildSurv, Virtual Built, Future Urban Group, Lewis Yerloburka O’Brien, Marijana Tadic, Erica Green, Peter Dungey, Brian Parkes and Lindy Lee.

David Chipperfield Architects and SJB Architects

“The building is a timber structure, comprising large screens and sloping roofs. Distinct from its neighbours, it sits comfortably as part of both city and garden, providing a threshold between the two. Volumetrically, three linear, staggered bars extend from North Terrace toward the Botanic Garden.

“To the north and east, a landscaped garden creates a new vibrant, open space in Adelaide. The Gallery of Time sits at the heart of the building, while areas for further display, learning, debate and engagement are located on the exterior, visible to the city.”

Designed in collaboration with Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture and Arup Lighting.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot

“The building is conceived of as a curatorial apparatus tailored to support these juxtapositions of time, geography, scale, and media. A matrix of unique spaces unbound by disciplinary categories range in size, height, infrastructure and light quality, and provide infinite flexibility for work across media.

“Daylit galleries above and light controlled galleries below are linked by a ground floor Super Lobby – a radically welcoming extension of the city and its gardens. Combining curatorial experimentation with new modes of education anchored by the Gallery of Time, Adelaide Contemporary will be a cultural incubator for South Australia and the world.”

Designed in collaboration with Oculus, Pentagram, Right Angle Studio, Klynton Wanganeen, Dustin Yellin, Studio Adrien Gardère, Australian Dance Theatre, Deloitte, Ekistics and Katnich Dodd.

HASSELL and SO-IL

“We have taken inspiration from what makes Adelaide special. Like the River Torrens Karrawirra Parri – a powerful and gracious river that gives life to Adelaide – Adelaide Contemporary will carry and deposit fertile ideas along the course of culture, constantly attracting, hosting, and transmitting pulses between the Australian heartland and locations abroad.

“The architecture we propose hosts both the formal and the informal; the everyday and the exceptional. It is humble enough to be open-ended as well as audacious enough to generate more energy than it consumes. It experiments outside the conventional tropes of institutional architecture. Through sensitivity and lightness, the building will restore the parkland to a state of balance between nature, art, and people.”

Designed in collaboration with Ali Cobby Eckermann, Arup, Australian Industrial Transformation Institute, Fabio Ongarato Design, Fiona Hall and Mosbach Paysagistes.

Khai Liew, Office of Ryue Nishizawa and Durbach Block Jaggers

“We propose a museum like a park with open areas where people can stay freely and gradually shift from art, nature, and public spaces while wandering through the architecture. We imagine architecture that sits gently on the ground to allow for everyone to criss-cross the site freely and to experience gradually integrating urban and natural atmospheres.

“Like a park where different activities happen simultaneously, this place gathers a museum, public spaces, nature, people, terraces and sculptures as part of one realm. We envisioned a large roof to create a comfortable, shaded place to invite people underneath.”

Designed in collaboration with Masako Yamazaki, Mark Richardson, Arup, Irma Boom, Taylor Cullity Lethlean and URPS.

Adelaide  Adelaide Contemporary  Art Gallery of South Australia  Steven Marshall  David Adjaye  David Chipperfield  Bjarke Ingels Group  DS+R 
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Revealed: Star-studded shortlist designs for Adelaide art museum
The shortlisted designs for a new art museum in Adelaida have been officially released, offering a first glimpse at what the likes of Adjaye Associates, BIG, Diller Scofidio + Renfro have in mind for the planned South Australian Landmark.